Monday, October 20, 2008

SRS: A T-Girl Goes All the Way! - Part 2

CiCi: Danielle, many of us dress and go out and even have relationships. But that's not enough for you. You're taking this one giant step further. How or why do you think you're different in that way?

Danielle: Different? I don't know. All I know is that I cannot hold such a wonderful gift inside any more! Instead of a curse, it's become a gift! Something I can give back to whoever will accept it. Sounds corny I know.

CiCi: Not corny at all. At least not to me.

Danielle: I don't know how or maybe it's that I lack the energy to contain it inside. I'm 41 damn it! I'd like to be happy most of the time as Danielle, instead of acting as Dave and being miserable. LOL, CiCi, it's like I'm right alongside of the history of the world! Comparable to Dark Ages (youth) to the Age of Enlightenment (my twenties) to the Age of Reason (my 30's) now to the Golden Age...

CiCi: Ok... so now you have some stability. A supportive wife. You've reached the "Age of Reason" as you call it. Life is good. When did you start to seriously consider SRS?

Danielle: I've always wanted SRS. I considered it as something I could actually achieve this winter when I began U OF M gender counseling

CiCi: But wait... you say "always." As a child... as a teen... were you aware of SRS as a possibility?

Danielle: I was aware people had their sexes changed; I just did not know that SRS was the term per se. I knew as a teen it was an option, I just did not think it an option I'd ever have.

CiCi: But you'd always fantasized about it? Or hoped for it?

Danielle: Yes. Always. Ever since I was 16 or so. Ever since I saw myself in the mirror. Ever since I knew that was the person I wanted to be.

CiCi: Can you give us a basic timeline of all the different surgeries and procedures you expect to go through in the next year?

Danielle: Yes, I can. I've already been thru the facial aspects... nose reduction and shaping, cheek enhancement, jaw line contouring, mandible reduction, face lift and endo brow lift... of which I will be fully recovered from by end of November.

CiCi: And how are you feeling now? Can you see a difference? (NOTE: It had been about 2 weeks since the surgery when we talked.)

Danielle: Yes. Certainly. Especially in the nose and cheek area. Of course there are still swelling issues. But all in all I look 10 years younger and a lot more feminine and can pass now during the day. Before I couldn't. Now I need the full regimen of estrogen to level things out.

CiCi: Have you started the estrogen yet?

Danielle: No I have not. My doctor is really slow in this arena because it's going to take time, since I'm an ex-smoker, to put me on my needed regimen. However, I'm taking spironolactone, which is a testosterone blocker.

CiCi: So it's all going well so far?

Danielle: Very well. I'm a bit impatient though. I want results now.

CiCi: So what's next in the process?

Danielle: Next are hormones and then I wait for my breasts to develop. If things go well, meaning, if they grow a few cup sizes on their own, then I will be full time in December – depending on the doctor's judgments of course. I want to be full time ASAP, but I have a ways to go in my view and the mones are the basic important step I must take next. I'm so nervous yet happy at same time. It's all coming together

CiCi: Is it too private to ask how far you're going to take this? Physically I mean.

Danielle: All the way into the SRS. I'd love to have a uterus etc., if it was possible.

CiCi: But this is no small thing, Danielle. Losing your penis is so final. I know most girls who go through SRS are happy to lose it – they feel no connection to their male identity or body. Is that how you feel? Or is there anxiety?

Danielle: There is anxiety. I have always felt that having SRS is the complete and final step in achieving my identity, and it is. But I have a lot of reservations about it happening. For one, I'm a very sexual person and if, for whatever reason if I was unable to achieve climax, I believe I'd be pretty devastated. Secondly, the cost. It's a very costly procedure. Of course, CiCi, having it removed only makes sense for me. But my penis does not make or break me. What makes or breaks me is using my sexual materials, whether mind, body, or soul, for me and my partner's pleasure!

CiCi: Danielle! You have such a healthy attitude about all this. So when do you take on that part of the surgery?

Danielle: After I go full time - then a year from that point. My therapists follow the Benjamin Rules.

CiCi: Yes, I was going to ask that. Those rules have become controversial to some. How do you feel about them? (NOTE: See the Benjamin Standards of Care)

Danielle: It's about a starting point really. A way of beginning, however, the rules are flexible. My therapists and doctors are extremely flexible. Honestly I think there are more things to worry about, i.e., discrimination policies in the federal government, than to be overly critical of Benjamin.

CiCi: So I have to ask, Danielle. How much is all this costing you?

Danielle: I've spent $20,000 give or take a 1000. But that included the major plastic surgery on my face and the therapy/hormones. If I'd not gotten the facial work, I'd have been around $500 for docs, co-pays and therapy. Going full-time from being a 40-year-old male is NOT cheap. But if you look at it any other way than as an expense, then you have to add in the time, the clothes, the outings (travel), and the makeup. And that's just the financial cost, not to mention the emotional costs involved. Not getting too too deep here, overall, throughout my life, with therapy, clothing, makeup, all of it, I'd say its cost me well over $25,000. Of course, that's over a 30-year period. I still have the SRS to undergo, which I'm figuring will set me back like $20,000 more.

CiCi: Are you receiving any financial assistance? Is any of this covered by insurance?

Danielle: Unfortunately, SRS or transition is NOT covered by major medical (except in Minnesota or California) because it is seen as something optional. Like I've said and I'll say again, the U.S. is in the pre-Stone Age of intelligence on transsexual matters. In conclusion, I've heard the total transition to full-time female, including SRS, is around $60,000. That's all-inclusive. It depends and varies case to case. The sooner you do it, the cheaper it is!

CiCi: Wow. I had no idea. But I knew it wasn't cheap. But I'm so happy for you, Danielle. Whatever the cost, it seems like this has been a very positive experience for you so far.

Danielle: Yes, it has been.

CiCi: So any advice to anyone who is thinking of attempting all of this?

Danielle: Yes! Do it. The sooner the better! Don't wait 'til you're in your 40's or 50's!

CiCi: And then one last question, Danielle. Where do you see yourself in 2 years? In 10 years?

Danielle: Two years, definitely full time! Hopefully finished with SRS as well. In 10? Wow. I don't know and cannot speculate, and I don't really want to. I hate to jinx myself.

CiCi: So you're just going to take it day by day?

Danielle: That's all I'm capable of anyway.

Danielle has promised me that we will do some follow-up interviews later in her process and I really look forward to that. In closing, I must say that I am constantly amazed at the strength and courage of the wonderful individuals I've met through my t-life. From people like Danielle who are facing SRS, to the closeted dresser venturing out for the first time, to the married TV summoning the courage to come out to her wife. In writing down my thoughts and feelings each month, I've been told that I inspire other girls. But you should all know. More often than not. It's the other way around.

Take care out there.
Be smart. Be safe. Be sexy.


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Enjoy the present day, as distrusting that which is to follow.

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